Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Amy Julian

While I like to think of myself as too mature to laugh at fart jokes, an occasional one will, well, slip out every now and then. It’s true that about 98% of the farting, peeing, crapping and other body-fluid-relief scenes are way too overdone and, frankly, crude, there is that other 2% that are a rip-roaring good time. And besides, all the pot jokes and racial stereotypes can make up for the lack of funny in toilet humor.

And while I’m not a fan of T&A, full-frontal nudity (yep, busty women sans bottoms), and crude jokes about male genitalia wear thin after, oh, about the first twenty times, there’s something endearing and downright hilarious about two minority guys getting detained by airport security, sent to Gitmo and subsequently escaping and embarking on the most random, unfathomable adventures. And a cameo by Neil Patrick Harris doesn’t hurt the story much either (though I can’t seem to tease apart NPH and Barney Stenson of HIMYM).

True, the stoner references are laid on thick, and f-bombs are dropped every 12 seconds or so, but it’s the understated, don’t-cough-or-you’ll-miss-it humor in “Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay” that struck me. I found the lines and situations that probably weren’t meant to be as funny as the wiggling-appendage of Kal Penn’s Kumar absolutely hilarious (“Zip it, Hello Kitty”). Some of the political references, I admit, did fly over my head a bit, though I got the general gist of it: the two main characters (played by Penn and John Cho, as the lovable, paranoid Harold) are minorities who find themselves in a host of political and racial situations that call attention to the strong racial profiling and War on Terror that is so prevalent in U.S. culture. Probably not what directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg were going for, but definitely achieved.

Those who are looking for a statement of all that is wrong and corrupt with the political system and a moral and ethical film that addresses the true oppression of minorities in today’s culture: this ain’t the movie for you. But if you are looking for a few cheap laughs, and can stomach pubic hair and crude sex jokes, then check your dignity at the door and join Harold and Kumar as they embark on another round of hijinks. While “Escape from Guantanamo” isn’t as good as “White Castle” with less “Dude did we get here on a cheetah?” moments, it still delivers some laughs and a good time.